State Dept Nominee Says US Will Keep Sanctions on Iran Even With Deal

Says many sanctions need to stay in place

Wendy Sherman, the US nominee for Deputy Secretary of State, suggested that even if negotiations are concluded leading the US to rejoin the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, the US would keep many of its anti-Iran sanctions in place.

Testifying to the Senate at her confirmation hearing, a former Undersecretary of State, emphasized that she’d written many sanctions on Iran that weren’t specifically about the nuclear program, and that she believes those should stay in effect even with the deal.

That’s going to be a tough sell if negotiations begin, as it once again frames the US as looking duplicitous, offering to make a deal which once again they have no intention of honoring the terms of.

Sherman’s comments are likely meant for the Senate’s consumption, assuring them that the Biden Administration will keep the US hostility toward Iran roughly intact, irrespective of public diplomacy that suggests the US is interested in a pact. She assured Congress that Biden would consult them on any sanctions relief.

Iran’s likely to be very on guard for this. President Obama, after all, made a deal and never really came through with the sanctions relief promised. President Trump then formally severed the deal, and tried to impose new sanctions, but since everything was still in effect, not too much changed.

Some are hoping to sell Iran on getting back to the good old days of Obama, but rhetoric aside, the sanctions relief is what Iran really wants, and they’ve gone through not getting it before.

If Biden is serious about a diplomatic overture to Iran, he likely is going to have to come up with something that will show them he is trustworthy, because Iranian officials who are inclined to a deal have to sell that to hardliners who will remind them that America’s track record of making good on promises isn’t great.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.